The Stoics on Identity, Identification, and Peculiar Qualities

Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium of Ancient Philosophy 32 (1):113-159 (2017)
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Abstract

In this paper, I clarify some central aspects of Stoic thought concerning identity, identification, and so-called peculiar qualities (qualities which were seemingly meant to ground an individual’s identity and enable identification). I offer a precise account of Stoic theses concerning the identity and discernibility of individuals and carefully examine the evidence concerning the function and nature of peculiar qualities. I argue that the leading proposal concerning the nature of peculiar qualities, put forward by Eric Lewis, faces a number of objections, and offer two constructive suggestions which turn upon reconsidering the nature and function(s) of peculiar qualities. Finally, I examine a simple but potent Academic argument against the view that identification requires detecting some attribute(s) unique to the relevant individual. Such an argument is, I argue, largely successful and may have encouraged later Stoics not to think that peculiar qualities enable identification.

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Tamer Nawar
Universitat de Barcelona

Citations of this work

Clear and Distinct Perception in the Stoics, Augustine, and William of Ockham.Tamer Nawar - 2022 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 96 (1):185-207.
Stoicism.Dirk Baltzly - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Self-Causation and Unity in Stoicism.Reier Helle - 2021 - Phronesis 66 (2):178-213.
Augustine's Defence of Knowledge against the Sceptics.Tamer Nawar - 2019 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 56:215-265.

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